Clerk’s Offices at Halifax City Hall, Halifax

Abbott Brown Architects, Halifax

Photography: Julian Parkinson

Like a palimpsest, this project is all about peeling back the layers of over 130 years of renovations and subdivisions that rendered the environment dark and uninviting to bring a historic piece of Halifax’s urban fabric back to prominence. The new design protects freshly exposed brickwork through minimal use of drywall, digitally printed glass screens and high-gloss millwork finishes. Ceilings remain open, with exposed services and suspended lighting, and the new palette is limited to warm ash, birch and ephemeral glass. In deference to the building culture of City Hall there is special attention to craft, with limited use of pre-finished commercial systems.  Doors are over-height, hand-made of ash and assembled in situ. A ribbon of ash screens flows through the reception area, with freestanding wood millwork elements delineating and defining spaces.